86-year-old YouTuber teaches Italian cuisine

Photo by Mariano's Cooking

It’s very easy to get the feeling that Mariano Trivelin doesn’t measure to the milliliter, in some calculated fashion like other chefs you could watch at home.

In the 86-year-old’s video on how to make homemade gnocchi pasta, he takes a bottle of chardonnay and begins to pour a fine splash lackadaisically into the sauce. He explains that all the alcohol content cooks off as the sauce hits, but before he can finish his thought, he realizes he forgot something.

He reaches into one of the many decorated cabinets in his home kitchen and retrieves a wine glass.

“I have to try [it],” Mariano says. “Chardonnay? You can’t go wrong with that.”

Mariano is as bursting with character and energy as his recipes are with flavour and colour: recipes he’s now sharing with a wider audience thanks to YouTube, Facebook and the assistance of two grandsons.

The show started and has remained a family affair. One of his grandsons, Stephen Komarnicki — who is the general manager of Capital Fine Meats in Edmonton, a fourth-generation family-owned business — had the idea at first.

“We had a cooking show we were doing that was filmed from the top-down, with hands doing the cooking,” he explains. “We didn’t have a host, we had no personality to the show… I said, Alex, why don’t I go down and film nono making a recipe?”

Alex Trivellin, Mariano’s other grandson — related, despite the different spelling of his last name — jumped on the idea. Alex acted as cameraman and editor, Stephen produced and managed the videos and Mariano? Mariano was the star of the show.

“Just because I’m Italian, yeah I can cook pasta in about 10 different ways,” Mariano says. He speaks rapidly, as if each, next word is another ingredient of immediacy. “I cook meat, I can cook fish, but I prefer to cook pasta. I grew up with pasta! My mom makes homemade pasta and she was born in 1922.”

“We went through the war, we had no food. We had what we had, and we didn’t have much.”

With Mariano’s flavourful personality, home kitchen and a video process set-up with Alex, the first videos were filmed. But Stephen had little doubt when it came to the potential for success.

“I had a feeling that Mariano was somebody special and I feel that our family has always known that,” Stephen says. “He’s just never had the opportunity.”

“When I watched that very first episode, I thought it was something special … his personality came through the video.”

And the videos were a wonderful success. Mariano’s channel now has thousands of views, with cooking that covers everything from the perfect tomato sauce to lasagna; homemade pizza to Italian wedding soup.

And although Mariano has no formal training, he has a lifetime of experience that’s impossible to replicate. The videos themselves are easy enough to follow, but Mariano’s charisma is what makes each one unique and a pleasure to watch.

Recipes are a smidge of that, a pinch of this; this ingredient reminds of him of a story he absolutely has to share; two of those, one of these and a green pepper, because why not? Have to knock on the window when it’s all finished, too, so that Mrs. Mariano can come by for a taste.

“I do what I can, I didn’t go to school for cooking. I was eight years single before married,” Mariano explains. “Then, I cooked for me. I cooked for years.”

“Anybody could do it.”

Mariano shows that it’s never too late to share your passions with the world around you.